Concern raised over Ballarat's residential rehabilitation facility

New service: The Stawell Street health facility set to become a drug and rehabilitation centre run by Windana Drug and Health Recovery.
New service: The Stawell Street health facility set to become a drug and rehabilitation centre run by Windana Drug and Health Recovery.

With a new residential rehabilitation set for the city, concern has been expressed over lack of community consultation about the project.

The 20 bed facility, operated by Windana Drug and Alcohol Recovery, will provide holistic community treatment programs and will be set up at has been the site of Ballarat Health Services’ mental health community care unit, Eastern View.

The program is expected to be operational by late 2018. 

While information forums were held this week, long time Stawell Street resident Andrew McKay said he has been surprised by the lack of consultation in the process. 

In the vicinity of a caravan park and public swimming pool, he said he was unsure what sort of security arrangements would be in place for the facility and what impact it might have the local community and the value of property.

“It doesn’t seem very democratic. It’s hard to argue with the fact that we need rehabilitation centres but local residents are impacted by it. It seems like they’ve done a good job in other locations but what happens if it goes wrong?” he said. 

A department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said that Windana was recently announced as the service provider for the facility and an initial information session was held in June to provide local residents with details on the new service.

“A further information session was held last night with the broader community and another today with the residents of Hemsley Park Retirement Village,” The department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said.

“As the project moves forward there will be additional opportunities for engagement and the community will be provided with detail of these opportunities.” 

Buninyong MP Geoff Howard said an opportunity for people to prejudge the facility and to prevent it from happening wouldn’t be helpful but providing as much information in a setting like the forum helps them to see that this will be a new facility for people who choose to break their drug and alcohol additions and presents no threats to people living in the community.